For Me

Hello!  Sorry for the radio silence lately…there’s been a bit of extra stress around here the past couple weeks that I’m aiming to adjust to.  And my birthday was yesterday!  I’m 29 now for those who are nosy like me and can’t get past the “she looks like she’s twelve but how old is she really?!”  And no, I’m not worried or paranoid about turning thirty.  It’s all just a number.  I also may be slightly absent for the next week or two as I finish up a paid-for project.  But after that I’ve got many things lined up to make and share, including a better version of that Wiksten Hack Tank tutorial post that I removed.  To the point of today…

Skirt Week is upon us!

Blue Turtle Skirt

As for this skirt, I’m making myself even do a post in the first place, and that’s only because I put it in with the A-line skirts for Skirt Week.  Yay, Skirt Week!  Boo on this skirt.  I’ll give you some quick details and then let you see my rushed pics that we took just before it was too dark.  I was mad then at anything and everything, but it was the last day to submit a photo, so enjoy my grumpy face in the one pic my head is seen.  (And ignore the wrinkly cardigan I pulled out of the basket of clean clothes right before heading outside.  Yikes…)

BTS outfit

The fabric is not really turtles, but kind of looks like turtles, and that’s fun, so hello, pretend turtles!  It’s a stretch cotton sateen-like fabric from Hancock (I always forget to check labels, sorry!).  I used the Sewaholic Crescent Skirt pattern, View A.  I fully lined it with white Bemberg rayon lining, but I wanted to wear it a few times before settling on where to hem that lining; so I used an overlock stitch on my regular sewing machine as a temporary finish until I make up my mind.  Unrelated: I find it hilarious that it looks like I’m wearing white tights in this pic, but no, I’m really just that pasty! 😀

BTS Lining

I added white piping to the waistband, but I would recommend forgoing the corded piping and just use some fabric strips instead.  The added bulk and dealing with topstitching on the waistband was annoying.

BTS piping and print

Those horizontal wrinkles are from my shirt, by the way–in case you think there’s something funky going on there.  I did a baby hem, but it tried to go mildly “lettuce” on me from the stretch.  Live and learn, I suppose.

BTS Back

The skirt itself isn’t all bad, but my last version of this pattern took some wearing before I learned to like it.  I’m hoping the same happens for this one.

Thanks for looking!  Sorry I’m so dull today.  The cats are at it again, and I’m not looking forward to the “unselfish sewing” I agreed to months ago.  I shall return with a bit more pep in my step! 🙂


After the two Wiksten Hack Tanks I made (see here and here), I decided I should at least make one that was more as the pattern intended.  I also wanted to try to fix the fit issues while the changes I made were still fresh in my mind.  I took extra precious time to pick up a few new techniques that I know will serve me well in future sewing projects.  (Please excuse the “whoa!” angle…having my sister hurriedly taking pics while the kids are shouting behind her is not always the best timing.)

I got this fabric at Hancock off the clearance tables.  I wish you could feel how soft it is!  The weight and drape of the fabric (to me, anyway) is just a step below quilting cotton, but I love the print, which is really rare for the major chain stores around here.

The few things I changed for my goofy shaped self:

-I shifted the pattern half an inch for the back neckline the same way I did the first Wiksten Hack Tank.

-I shaved a quarter inch off the front and bottom armscye (but still need to remove a bit more from that front part).

-I straightened the shoulder seam line so it didn’t slope quite so steeply.

-I did a baby hem instead of the pattern’s recommended typical, folded up hem–just because I like it better, and it seemed easier for such a curvy hem.  I suck at doing a regular hem on a curvy line.  (This recent rolled hem tutorial by Megan Nielsen came in handy.)

I mentioned on the first version that the neckline wasn’t laying flat and the bias binding finish was sticking out.  Instead of winging it like I usually do and trying to figure it out myself (which is fun sometimes, but there’s a point where it becomes an “Ashley, you are officially wasting fabric!” kind of thing), I looked to the internet and my book resources to find some clues and answers to how to fix my issues.  And, whaddya know?!  I found answers!  Shocker, right…

I used this tutorial for how to do the bias finish, and I even double checked the Wiksten pattern directions–there is nothing in the pattern directions about clipping, understitching, or grading the seam allowance of the binding before doing the final press and stitch.  Check out the tutorial before you do a bias finish neckline, because her technique is spot-on.  It was worth the extra time. (It’s still a great pattern, though!!)

I do see that the neckline still sticks out a little, but I think I now know why (thanks to my handy dandy collection of book resources mentioned above!).

This book offers oodles of finishing techniques for gobs of fabrics and necklines and seams and insides, etc.  The one that struck me was for bias finishes.  Have you ever heard to stretch-press bias tape before stitching it on?? If you haven’t, don’t feel too dumb, because I’ve looked at and read tons of information that has yet to be used by my brain, and I have never seen this before!

As I was cutting my bias strips for the arm holes and neckline, I even found myself wondering if I was supposed to stretch it all while measuring.  The tutorial I used by Grainline Studio doesn’t mention stretching; just that the length of the bias strip should be an eighth of an inch shorter than the seam line around the neck–plus seam allowance to stitch the bias into a continuous circle before attaching.  The seam allowance isn’t included in her measurement recommendation in the actual post; I found that in the comments.  To save you from confusion like me, you have to add that in!  I followed this guidance without stretching (just in case she factored in weird stuff like that), but when I was stitching the strip to my tank, the bias was longer than my neckline.  If I had stretch-pressed it before cutting, I know this wouldn’t have happened, and chances are that the tiny bit of shrinking back into shape would’ve pulled the neckline into place.  I’m still a little iffy on whether she means to stretch-press before cutting it to measurement (in the book), but I’m going to try it next time.  Needless to say, I learned so very much with this simple top!

I think this will be my last entry into Rae’s Spring Top Sew Along, since it ends on Monday.

Next week, I plan to tackle some yellow shorts for Little Man (by his request!) and some high-waisted shorts for myself.  I also have plans for a new Crescent Skirt, since Skirt Week is approaching!  I’m not sure which will get made first, but expect a little more variety coming up soon!

As always, thanks for looking! 🙂

Since a basic tee is rather boring, I’ll be brief.  I made this.  The end.

Okay, not really.  I have no idea what this knit fabric is called, but I got it at The French Seam a year ago when they were having an awesome anniversary sale.  Since we had to drive rather far to get there, I spent loads and bought gobs of indie patterns as well (my Crescent Skirt pattern and orange linen it’s made of–seen here–are from there, too).  I spent more on this knit than I really wanted, but I loved it so, and I still have enough left over to make another tee–yay!  Here is the print…if you know what it’s called for reference, feel free to let me know.  I don’t normally buy “designer” fabric, but I think it was from France??

I used my “Don’t Be Lazy!” Shirt pattern (forever more will be known as the DBL shirt, fyi).  I cut the sleeve to be a cap sleeve, and I’m quite happy with it.  After sewing it all up, it seemed rather boxy with no waist definition, so I took the waist seam line in a bit.  The weight of this fabric is a little heavier than the DBL shirt, so the neckline doesn’t lay quite as flat.  I’m hoping after a wash that it will straighten out a little more.

I think that’s all that can be said!  I love it, and I had to remind myself all day at the Children’s Museum that I actually made the shirt that was so very comfortable.  So, I’m calling it a win!

Thanks for looking!  🙂

Oh yeah, and added this one, too.

After my first Wiksten Hack Tank, I wanted to alter the pattern while it was still fresh in my mind.  I love the first one despite its flaws–it’s very comfortable and cool.  A quick note on that first one, though the neckline still sticks up/out, since it’s been through the washer, it has flattened out some.  Yay!

Onto this new one!   I used some old stash fabric for this one.  The solid green is some olive green rayon knit, and the top part is some polka dot quilting cotton that I should’ve thought more about first.  I made the woven part with a full second layer to work as a facing (kind of like my Casual Lady Top, but this “facing” goes only as far as the outer bodice piece).

The process worked great for the point in the front, but it ended up too heavy and thick overall.  Hopefully after washing it, it will soften up.  But it was stash fabric, so I’m not too bummed.

When I was making a Kraft paper pattern for my alterations, I stupidly shifted the back pattern piece a goofy and wrong way for the top shoulder part.  I ended up with a pattern piece with the excess taken out at the arm hole instead of at the neckline.  This caused a “wings” kind of look on the back.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I did it, but it was such an idiot move!  It looks better in the pics than it does in person.  Those aren’t my shoulder blades poking that you’re seeing–it just drapes that way.

I’ve tried putting this on to wear out 3 different times since I made it, and I end up too uncomfortable and change before getting out the door. 😦  But, again, I’m hoping a trip through the washer changes that.

And don’t you just love the Band-Aids on my arms?  We have three cats that never really fight.  But a couple nights ago, two of them began going at it–even running across the kitchen table hissing, scratching, chasing…and peeing!  Thank heavens for PDF pattern that I can reprint, because my Wiksten Tank and Scout Tee patterns fell victim to the scared kitty’s bladder.  SO GROSS!  Then in pulling the chaser away from the chasee, the cat who never hurts or bites–yeah, the bugger bit me!  For all my cat knowledge (hi, note the name of my blog), I didn’t know that cat bites are really dangerous and have an 85% infection rate (even indoor, rabies-free cats)!  WHAT?!  Luckily, my sister clued me in, I went to the doctor, and am on “precautionary” antibiotics (which I hate doing!).  But it turns out that’s a pretty good thing, because two of the four punctures in my arms are looking a bit nasty, even with the antibiotic ointment I applied right afterward.  So, learn from me–if you ever get bit by a cat, go to the doctor!  Yikes. So now I have Band-Aid arms for the third day in a row. :/

So that’s my latest Wiksten Hack and a crazy cat story.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

And again, putting this one in the pool! Wiksten Hack Tank

This shirt was inspired by an old RTW tank that gets much use.  I knew I wanted to make something similar to it, but I didn’t want to mess with drafting a pattern or tracing the existing tank (some parts of it annoy me).  After much searching and debating between the Tiny Pocket Tank and the Wiksten Tank, I came upon a post on crab & bee about Morgan choosing the Wiksten tank for its lack of bust darts.  That settled it for me, since I didn’t want or need bust darts for my design, and it was simple–perfect for a hack!

WH side wm

Though I mentioned before about really trying to be a more careful sewist and not be lazy, this project was quick and dirty, and truthfully, I’m amazed it worked out as well as it did!  After Little Man took forever to go to sleep for the night, I worked on it until 1am on Monday just to finish it.  I made a lot of sleep-deprived mistakes (you’d think I would’ve learned by now to just go to bed…).

WH back full wm

The upper fabric came from Hancock, and the lower rayon knit was cut from a thrifted shirt I got for $2.50 on a half-price Saturday (see pic below, but please note, I would never wear it layered this way.  I just wanted a quick shot of how it fit.).  I kept the top portion to use on something else later on.

WH Gray Before Col

Though I feel much more confident in my knit-hemming abilities after my “Don’t Be Lazy!” shirt, I chose to save myself some time and used the existing hem of the shirt.  This meant omitting the curvy hemline in the original Wiksten design, but I decided it was worth it.  I used two layers on the front bodice piece, since the woven fabric is really thin.  I intended to do the same on the back, but I cut the first piece wrong (did I mention I was tired?).  I used orange bias tape for all the finishing instead of self-bias that there is a pattern piece for.  The inside–I’m glad a went with orange bias tape:

WH Inside Bodice wm

I made a straight muslin first of how the Wiksten pattern was supposed to look and found I needed a rounded back adjustment.  I asked my husband to pin it for me, so I could make an accurate adjustment, but he struggled with understanding how to pin it so it wouldn’t shift.  I had to fully trust the measurement he gave me without really knowing if it was completely correct.  I then went with what Rae suggested when making hers and just shifted the pattern during the cutting process.  More insides:

WH Bodice Seam wm

After finishing the shirt, I think I could’ve taken out a bit more of the pattern for a better fit.  However, the shoulders also gape a bit at the top–the pattern looks like it has more shoulder sloping than my shoulders need.  I think I’m going to open up the neck binding at the shoulder seams and straighten out the seam a bit to see if that helps for next time.  I plan on making a couple more of these, so next time I’ll take some pics to explain a bit more in detail of how I went about deciding where to make the cut for the bodice piece–I actually didn’t intend for it to cut right across the bust.  Another sleep-deprived mistake…I forgot to add my seam allowance when cutting the gray, so I had to steal some from the print when sewing it up.  Oh my brain…

WH neck side me wm

I also don’t like how the front neckline lays.  When looking at others’ versions, it seemed almost 50/50 with whether or not I would have this issue.  I’m going to try to stretch the bias tape a little bit as I stitch it on next time to see it if will make it lay flat (lie flat? lay flat? I can never remember that one…).

WH Neckline Me wm

Regardless of the mistakes, I will be wearing this shirt all summer long.  It’s cool and comfy, which is perfect for the sweltering heat.  I’ll be sure to take some pics of the process for next time to show more of how I did this in case any new sewists might not know how it’s done. Wiksten Hack Tank

Thanks for looking!  I always appreciate it when you guys stop by to look at my stuff–it makes me feel a bit less like an island! 🙂

I’m not much of a blog promoter, and I’m always paranoid about linking up a project (especially in more than one place), but in the interest of participating in this amazing sewing community, I’m linking up here this time:



My challenge commitment was 3 me-mades a week.  But I’m only counting my pajamas when I have to from not really going out (and I have lots of those that are me-made!).  So far so good…

Day One was pjs, so here’s Day 2 with my new Casual Lady Top.  (By the way, this picture totally cracks me up and looks like a high school senior picture styling!)

CL top best wm

Day Three was my old orange linen Crescent Skirt.  It was also Theme Friday with the theme “Water.”  This was my take on that:

MMMD2 Jump shot wm

Perfect jump shot courtesy of my awesome husband!  I came downstairs with a big box of sidewalk chalk and said, “I need you to take my picture.  It’s Me-Made-May and today’s Friday theme is water.”  He looked at me funny but did my bidding without question (which is quite out of character but great)!

Here’s the outfit normally:

MMM D2 all wm

And today was mini marathon day.  I employed my old peacock Renfrew tee to be extra comfy in the cold and rain while my husband ran 13.1 miles.  There are actually lots of small light green peacocks on it (I’ll probably give a better detail pic later in the month.), but J took this for me after he ran.  He’s been quite the photography trooper lately!

MMM '13 D4 wm

Week One is done!  I always wondered what was really to be learned about doing this, and only 4 days in, I’m already starting to get it!  I remembered the peacock Renfrew as too small and uncomfortable.  Needless to say, I remembered wrong! 🙂

UPDATE: go here to see a detail shot of the lovely peacocks!

The Flickr group is crazy amazing if you want to check it out!

Thanks for looking! 🙂 Casual Lady Top

Finally, here it is!  When I first saw this Casual Lady Top pattern and the story behind it, I thought it was an amazing thing Andrea is doing.  The purchase of the pattern goes toward funds to support women taken out of sex trafficking, which is absolutely amazing.  GO HERE to learn more!  I didn’t intend to buy the pattern, but after seeing a few others’ versions of the top, I decided that even if my version sucked, at least I was supporting a good cause.  I admire Andrea greatly for what she is doing and her willingness to take money away from her sale of this pattern and give it to women in need.  It’s truly, TRULY amazing!  As of the May 25, the full proceeds are still going there.

CL collage

Enough gushing, on to the pattern…  I wasn’t planning on making changes to the pattern, but the fabric from my stash that I settled on was too light and thin to conceal a facing, and I would have to wear a tank underneath it to keep things “modest.”  So, I decided to make the facing into a full second layer, but attach it as though it was a facing.  Does that even make sense?  Hope so… If not, maybe the pics will help.  This is the inside of the shirt:

CL no facing edit

I used what I think is a rayon knit that I got last year from Crimson Tate::Modern Quilter, which is a local modern quilting store, but she carries lots of awesomeness.  Apparel fabrics are not usually in her inventory, but from last time I was there, she does carry the voiles and such from the awesome designers.  When I spotted this border print knit, I fell in love with it.  I was never sure what I wanted to do with it, so I decided to take a chance on this top.  By no flaw of the pattern, I think this fabric (and my choosing to layer it) made the fit a little weird.  And a little kid-ish with some old-lady-ish thrown in. :/  But Little Man looked up at me today, not even knowing I made it, and said, “I like your shirt.  It’s pretty.”  However, I think he meant the print, since that’s what he was staring at. 🙂 Casual Lady Top

I do intend to take in the waist seams a little to shoot for some shape definition, because as is, it’s not very flattering.  (Yes another dorky, unflattering self-pic in my bathroom…My sis was on the agenda as photographer today, but one of her littles fell ill today.  But, hey, I told you I was gonna be keeping it real!  **But, hey again!  I updated it with a husband-taken shot!)   What’s odd about the fit is that I actually utilized my “Don’t Be Lazy” shirt pattern to help in choosing how to grade for my not-too-curvy self.  Realistically, the fit should’ve been similar, but alas, it wasn’t.  But that’s my fault, not the pattern.

CL side slit edit

I was originally on the fence, but chose not to hem it.  When I first completed the top, the hem wasn’t rolling up and just laid flat, so I was concerned about how that would look; but after wearing it all day, the hem finally started doing its thing.  I also had left the bottom side seams open in case I chose to cut the top layer slightly shorter than the bottom.  However, after the hem rolled up, I don’t think that will be necessary, and I think I rather like the side slit there.  I may or may not finish it properly later.

CL sleeve edit

I cut the inside layer so only the lattice print is on it–I was worried about how the darker parts of the border print would look when they were overlapped.  I’m happy with how that aspect turned out.

Overall, this pattern was a pretty quick sew and worth the splurge.  The directions were great and thorough.  You should go for it and support an awesome cause in the process!  You’ll probably also see another version here eventually. 🙂  I linked this one up to her link party:


and because Rae extended the Spring Top Sewalong, I’m also going to add this to the pool.

Thanks for looking! 🙂